The Houston Cougars, barred from postseason play because of probation, plan to use Saturday's game against Texas to prove they belong.

The No. 3 run-and-shoot Cougars, with quarterback David Klingler firing touchdown passes and 220-pound running back Chuck Weatherspoon bursting through defensive lines, are averaging nearly 43 points a game.Nothing seems to slow the Cougars and, wanting to make a great showing in the ESPN night game, the score could get out of hand for Texas.

Texas hasn't come close to stopping the Cougars in recent years, falling 60-40, 66-15 and 47-9. Longhorns coach David McWilliams said the game "has been building for several weeks."

Mindful of NCAA sanctions against Houston for rules violations, Cougars coach John Jenkins commented, "We said, `Let's administer the death penalty every Saturday we play."'

Advised that Jenkins had stated that the run-and-shoot can't be stopped unless it stops itself, McWilliams said, "I think he's got a pretty strong case."

Houston trails top-ranked Notre Dame and No. 2 Washington in The Associated Press poll even though it is 8-0 and has the nation's longest major college winning streak of 12 games.

The Longhorns are 6-1 for the season and 4-0 in the Southwest Conference, which makes them a leader in the race for the Cotton Bowl.

Weatherspoon, who has run for 379 yards in just two games against Texas, said, "I think the whole team hates Texas. It just builds so much fire within us."

Texas safety Lance Gunn said, "I never like to say we owe a team anything, but Houston has beaten the dog out of us."

Texas players, coming off two consecutive losing seasons for the first time in half a century, sport T-shirts with "WIT 1990" written across their chests. "Whatever It Takes. We'll do whatever it takes to win," said Texas defensive back Stanley Richard.

The Longhorns have pieced together their winning record with a balanced offense directed by quarterback Peter Gardere and a defense that has yielded 295 yards and 15 points a game.

The Longhorns, led by 260-pound defensive end Shane Dronett and 270-pound defensive tackle James "General" Patton, have had 14 sacks in the past two games.